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The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health supports Kauhajoki in organising cr...

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 24.9.2008 11.10
Press release -

A civil servants working group will convene today at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health with the task of ensuring that those responsible for the aftercare of the shooting incident in Kauhajoki receive all the support they need. The group concentrates on organising the support necessary in the initial phase and investigates what kind of help the victims, their relatives and the students and staff of the educational institution are in need of. The group shall also see to it that clear areas of responsibility are assigned to all those providing support.

The group consists of, besides experts of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Ministry of Education, experts in e.g. crisis work and psychosocial support, early intervention, school health care, and financing. The group is chaired by Director Jouko Söder who is responsible for social and medical emergency preparedness and response at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

“Now we need extensive cooperation and have to investigate in detail the reasons behind this incident. The persons who are most in need of assistance do not necessarily themselves perceive that they need help. We must be able to reach them,” says Paula Risikko, Minister of Health and Social Services. In addition to handling the acute situation the Ministry also continues its long-term development work in the field.

Those in need of support have to be identified at an early stage and be provided adequate assistance

Only a part of the municipalities have developed their school and student health care in accordance with the national handbooks and quality recommendations issued in 2002–2006. Therefore, a specific Decree on school and student health care is being drafted so as to obligate local authorities to provide diversified preventive services for all children and young people on a regular and equitable basis. The purpose of the comprehensive health examinations is to identify at an early stage the children, young people and families that are in need of additional support and to organise that support. Particular attention should be paid to psychosocial wellbeing, mental health and incidence of bullying, and to cooperation with the homes, other pupil/student welfare and the educational staff.

“Based on the extensive health examinations an individual plan can be drawn up for every pupil/student, and the situation of class and school communities and possible additional measures can be evaluated. The comprehensive schools and upper secondary schools can get information about the health of pupils/students and about the school community on the basis of the outcomes of the school health questionnaires carried out every two years. This information should be made better use of in the development of the school communities,” states Minister Risikko.

According to her, it is important to develop pupil and student welfare as an entirety. This involves, in addition to the school and student health care staff, among others school social workers, psychologists and teachers.

A total reform of the services for children, young people and families has been launched as a part of the KASTE Programme for development of social and health services. The reform covering the entire country aims to adapt the development environments and service systems so as to support the health and wellbeing of children and young people, and so as to prevent and tackle problems and disturbances across sectors. Particular focus will be on reforming psychosocial services and services that support mental health.

For further information contact:
Jouko Söder, Ministerial Counsellor, tel. (09) 160 74363, 050 3812467 (09) 160 74363, 050 381 2467
Anna Manner-Raappana, Special Adviser, tel. (09) 160 74157, 040 575 6618
Merja Saarinen, Ministerial Counsellor, tel. (09) 160 74030, 050 563 4796
Marjaana Pelkonen, Senior Officer, tel. (09) 160 74036, 050 514 5279 (the Decree and the KASTE Programme)

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